Life has been crazy and I haven’t seen much of my sister-in-law. Yesterday, she came over for coffee and a visit. We chatted about so many things–some was chit chat and of little consequence, some was heavy and meaningful.
She brought me a Christmas gift and gave me a wonderful foot massage. Time got away from us and before we knew it, two o’clock had arrived. After she left, I was content and it felt different than other visits. I thanked her for taking the time to sit with me. Her response nailed what I had been feeling but hadn’t articulated. “It was so good. I’m glad we just got to BE.”
So many times, we want to help others by doing something. We rack our brains thinking what we can say or do or bring. All of those things are so appreciated and helpful and necessary, but sometimes what is most needed is to “just be” with someone.
While “just being” seems to be the most simple thing we can offer, often it is the most difficult. Bringing a meal or sending a card is visibly productive. I can put my hands to work and produce something that shows my love and care. It is, somehow, a measure of my affection. It is also less scary. If a meal is needed, and I bring a meal, a need has been met. It’s accomplished. It’s done. I’ve taken care of it.
“Being” raises all sorts of doubts and questions. “What will we talk about?” “What if I don’t know what to say?” “What if I say the wrong thing?” “What if she really doesn’t want company at all?” “What if I overstay?” “What if I don’t stay long enough?” It’s easy to feel unequal to the task.
You see, “being” is intimate. It’s face to face. It’s vulnerable. It says “I have some time, and I’m just going to hang out with you–whatever that looks like.” Maybe you laugh. Maybe you cry. Maybe both.
Some days, I feel pretty great and want lively conversation and maybe to play a game. Other days, I feel like garbage and it’s nice just to have someone in the same room, not interacting. We all have times like this in life. We have ups and downs–days when we want people to share the joy of our lives and other days when they cry with us. Some days, we feel like our house is burning down and we just need someone to sit in the ashes with us, silent.
Whatever the situation, never underestimate the power and blessing of the opportunity to “just be.” It’s a gift.